The weekend before, The Guardian had featured in their food pullout a piece on the top 10 chili recipes - as it happens they were almost all non chili-con-carne recipes, and mostly jams and stuff. Anyhow, it put chili in my head, so eventually the subliminal messaging came out when I cooked.
I made chili-con-carne lots of times whilst I was a student, and younger, but it was never much to it - some mince beef, chili powder, cumin and tomatoes - quick, cheap and easy. But this time I decided that there are probably a lot more satisfying chili's to be had. As always, I wanted it to be rich, but I also decided I wanted a really smokey flavor, invoking images of slow cooked chili on damp fire coals. So I set about reading. I had an idea for some things that could go in (chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, oregano) but decided to do some research, and ended up whittling away quite some time reading lots of them, noting the bits that I liked or thought might work - as you might expect, recipes for great chili are quite divided! Pork or beef or both? mince or steaks? tomatoes or not? I was originally planning on using liquid smoke to provide the smokey flavour, but didn't get a chance to pick any up, so have used smoked paprika instead.
Anyway, from my scribbled notes, and what I then didn't forget to buy from the supermarket, here is the recipe..
Serves about 4-5 people
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic chopped/minced
- 400g mince pork
- 400g mince beef
- 1 tablespoon tomato puree
- 2 400g tins of tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 3 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional - and adjust to taste)
- 1 large red Romano pepper
- a knob of butter
Preheat fan oven to about 130 degrees
- Chop the onions, throw them in the casserole dish with the butter and cook over a gentle heat until translucent and soft
- Throw in the garlic and cook for a few more minutes
- Add the pork and beef - continue to cook until browned
- Stir in the tomato puree - cook for a further few minutes
- Mix in the sugar and herbs/spices
- Mix in the tinned tomatoes and the chopped red pepper
- Fill up one of the empty tomato tins with cold water and mix that in
- Cover and stick in the oven - cook for anything from 2-6 hours!(this can be adjusted to your schedule) Stirring occasionally - if it gets too thick then add a bit more cold water, if it isn't reducing fast enough then turn up the oven (slow cooking is very forgiving - nothing happens too fast and its unlikely this will get over cooked)
I served with lime-cilantro rice (rice with fresh lime and chopped corriander) and easily went to 5 people.